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Jun 21, 2022

Ella’s Cool Spot Reduced to Rubbles

An overnight blaze in Hopkins village completely destroyed Ella’s Cool Spot, an iconic location in the community considered to be a prime tourist destination for food and drinks. The restaurant and bar was eviscerated by a fire that began just before two a.m. The owner of the business, Ella Carr, is alleging arson and there is surveillance footage to support her claim. So, who is behind the fire that reduced years of investment to rubbles? And, is it connected to a physical altercation caught on camera between Carr and a fellow business owner? News Five’s Paul Lopez was in Hopkins Village today and has the following story.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Surveillance footage from a nearby store shows someone walking towards the entrance of Ella’s Cool Spot with what appears to be a flaming object in hand. The footage was captured just before two a.m. and it is not clear enough to make out the identity of the individual. Arson, that is what Ella Carr, the owner of Ella’s Cool Spot in Hopkins Village, is alleging after her restaurant and bar was destroyed by fire on Tuesday. Donovan Maximo, a relative, lives on a nearby property. He and his siblings were first on the scene of the fire. He spoke with us off camera.


Donovan Maximo

Donovan Maximo, First Responder

“I got up to use the restroom and I notice something strange. I notice a big glare outside the window and that’s when I noticed my cousin’s business was on fire. My first thing I did was rush upstairs to call my dad. All my brothers and neighbors tried our best to stop the fire. But, that is something hard to do, especially with the wind.”


Since Ella’s Cool Spot was established six years ago, it has grown in popularity and value. From a simple barbeque hut, to arguably the number one food stop in Hopkins with an extensive menu. Carr’s years of investment, blood, sweat and tears, have been reduced to rubble.


Ella Carr

Ella Carr, Owner, Ella’s Cool Spot

“The structure was like three, four thatch buildings. All of that burned down. I was starting to work on my gift shop.  I was working on my gift shop as well. I have twelve employees and I started all by myself, along with a couple of my family members who helped me along the way. Now that I have a wide amount of employee working here with me, so like, all of them left without a job for a while. I am a single parent and even the community is going to feel this as well is going to feel this. It is just hard.”


Carr and businessman Bernard Nunez, the owner of Wabinaha Night Club, have been embroiled in a land dispute over a beachfront property. Carr was reluctant to divulge any information related to thelegal matter.  However, avideo posted on social media earlier this year, showing Carr and Nunez engaged in a physical altercation, has since resurfaced.


Paul Lopez

“There is a video circulating about a fight and I am just wondering, and I am putting it to you, asking if you believe that the physical altercation is any way,

shape, or form, connected to what happened here at Ella’s Cool Spot last night.”


Ella Carr,

“Um, I wouldn’t stretch on that topic right now because what happened between me and my neighbor we are going through the court right now.”


Paul Lopez

“Have you gotten any chance to speak to your neighbor about anything?”


Ella’s Carr

“Yes, well the first case we made peace and the judge threw out the case, but the person does not give up. Still, it is a continuously thing with the neighbor.”


Paul Lopez

“Would you be willing to say what he is claiming?”


Ella Carr

“It is not a land dispute, because where my business is, the land is for my uncle. The beach front property is not my property. I was just a care taker for the property over the past six years, and I won’t stretch on that topic. But, I believe it is just a jealousy due to my successful business you know.”


We were able to track down Bernard Nunez at his home in Hopkins Village. He took this opportunity to clear his name and distance himself from having anything to do with this morning’s fire. Nunez is a retired police officer. He told us that he would not wish such tragedy on anyone, and he is willing to contribute towards the rebuilding of Ella’s Cool Spot.


Bernard Lopez

Bernard Lopez, Business Owner

Ella, I am sorry for what happened to you, for your loses and everything. But, whatever it is I can do to lend a hand to help I surely will. Ok, and that is about it, nothing more for me to say.”


Paul Lopez

“How do you think you can assist in this situation?”


Bernard Nunez

“Whatever it is she want to do to be able to build back, I will be able to assist in whatever fundraising issues and stuff like that.”


Paul Lopez

“One would say, wow you are in a video where a physical altercation occurred and you were hit on, and here you are offering a helping hand.”


Bernard Nunez

“Yeah, well at least I dropped that. I put that to the side so that we can move on the best way we can. But, at this time my intention is to drop whatever had happened. I want to see here succeed, and forgiveness to what happened. Let’s move on.”


This morning, the Belize Police Department informed the press that the cause of the fire is unknown. Notwithstanding the ongoing investigation, Carr says she is determined to start over. She has opened a go fund me account for those willing to assist in that process.


Ella Carr, Owner, Ella’s Cool Spot.

“I am hurt, because all my hard work, you know, went down the drain. I am a determined person and I am ready to get up back and get stronger and I will bounce back ten times.”

Paul Lopez Reporting for News Five




Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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